Italy Fast Facts

Offida, Italy

Population: 62,007,540

Capital City: Rome

Climate: Predominantly Mediterranean; Alpine in far north; hot, dry in south

Time Zone: GMT+1

Language: Italian

Country Code: 39

Coastline: 7,600km

Live "La Dolce Vita" in Sunny Italy

Italy has a staggering amount to offer travelers…and residents. Romantic cities, timeless hill towns, snowy mountains, idyllic islands, vineyard-covered countryside, and a rivetingly beautiful coastline. Plus, outside the major cities, homes start at a mere $50,000—or less.

Expats in Italy say they love not only the art, culture, impressive architecture, world-renowned food, and easy access to the rest of Europe, but also the slower pace of life and the culture that prioritizes family and friends over work and to-do lists.

This is the very definition of the sweet life. It’s about surrounding yourself with people you love, taking the time to enjoy even the simplest things—a delicate zucchini blossom, a well-made cup of coffee, the feeling of sand between your toes—and prioritizing the important things in life.

A Slower, Simpler Italian Way of Life

Retirees report that this cultural attitude means the pace of life is slower in Italy, especially outside the main cities. They talk about long coffee breaks with Italian friends and passeggiata (strolls) through the town in the evening. One couple says that they no longer have alarm clocks in their home. Another couple adds that happiness just seems more important to the Italians.

A Surprisingly Affordable Lifestyle

These same expats report that their simpler lives in Italy come with a lower price tag than they would have expected.

In lesser-known, beautiful countryside Le Marche, one couple says their expenses are 80% cheaper than their previous life in New York. In sunny southern Calabria, another expat says a cup of coffee costs just 90 cents, a multi-course meal runs about $34 per person, and health insurance for the entire year is covered by about $230. And in Umbria—Tuscany’s pretty neighbor—one of our correspondents spent less than $2,000 in living expenses per month.

The Italian Visas That Make a Move to Italy Possible

Life in Italy sounds pretty nice…so the next question most people have is: can I do it? Is it legally and logistically possible to make the move?

And the answer is yes.

Italy offers a variety of visas for non-Italians who would like to live in the country. The one most retirees apply for is the elective residence visa, which is designed for retirees and other people who do not need to take a job in Italy. For this, you’ll need proof of financial means, a rental agreement or deed in Italy, and proof of medical insurance that covers you there. The key to this visa is proving that you don’t need to work.

And if you have Italian ancestry, you may be in even better shape. If you have a parent, grandparent, or even great-grandparent born in Italy, you may be eligible for dual citizenship.

In other words, if you’re dreaming about a move to Italy, your dream just might be more possible than you ever imagined.

From the Archives of Italy

In Pictures: Your New Home in Overlooked Italy For $63,700

In Pictures: Your New Home in Overlooked Italy For $63,700

Italy is the land of ancient culture, magnificent landscapes, and delicious food. So how can you get that bella vita (beautiful life) without the crowds and high price tag? Though big hitters like Rome, Florence, Venice, and the gorgeous Tuscan countryside are well worth the visit, they may not be the best choice for those looking to escape to Italy affordably.

Tuscany

Tuscany

With its ethereal golden hills, famous art cities, and celebrated hill towns, Tuscany certainly needs no introduction. Italy’s most illustrious region has basked in the limelight for centuries and its mere name evokes sighs from just about anybody who has visited—or wants to.

Rent by the Italian Seaside for Less Than $400 a Month

Rent by the Italian Seaside for Less Than $400 a Month

It might seem strange to say that I’m a beach person, having spent much of my adult life as a desert dweller. But every vacation during those years was to the ocean, because while I loved life in New Mexico, I craved the ocean and needed at least one week of soaking myself in salt water to regenerate.

How My Home in Historic Italy Helps Pay for Itself

How My Home in Historic Italy Helps Pay for Itself

When Italy gets under your skin, it's hard to ignore the call of La Dolce Vita (The Sweet Life). The country has enchanted me since I first visited in 1972, and so, in 2003—when life finally allowed—my husband Jim and I bought a home there so could we spend part of every year in the country.

Getting Married in Italy: What You Need to Know

Getting Married in Italy: What You Need to Know

You don’t have to live in Italy to get married here. Although there is quite a lot of legwork and paper chasing involved, countless American citizens have tied the knot in Florence, Rome, and many other cities. If you are thinking of an Italian wedding, check that rules haven’t changed with an Italian Consulate office in the U.S.

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